Showing some Moxy

The European hotel industry is in Berlin this week fretting about a lack of financing, banks’ continued reluctance to release distressed inventory (although others say they are on the cusp) and generally difficult trading conditions, especially to the south. But in swoops Marriott on Tuesday morning, trying to brighten the day by telling the gathering at the annual International Hotel Investment Forum that all they need is a little Moxy, its new 3-star brand launched on the exhibition floor.

Fifty Moxys in five years is the initial goal for the “cheap chic” brand competing with the likes of CitizenM. Milan will be the first to debut in 2014, and the ambition is to reach 150 hotels in Europe in 10 years. Marriott is initially working with Inter Hospitality — a subsidiary of the parent company of the Ikea furniture brand — who will develop and own the first properties and Nordic Hospitality to franchise. Will Moxy translate in the European marketplace? The mood here is nowhere near as upbeat as the January investment conference in Los Angeles, so leave it to an American player to create buzz.

The opening executive panel on Monday had Pandox CEO Anders Nissen bemoaning the brands’ desire to focus on growth and not operations, leaving owners disappointed with profit. It is not a new song sung on stages like this, but one the brands always downplay. Anders wondered aloud whether he should run independent, allowing the OTAs to replace the brands in his stable.

The other bright spot: David Fattal from Israel telling HOTELS with his acquisition of the Queens Moat Houses Germany portfolio from Goldman Sachs (20 hotels with most being converted to his Leonardo brand) he expects to grow income on the hotels 15% to 20% and profit by 30%.